178 000 Zimbabweans Face Closure of Their Bank Accounts
The SA Government recently announced that they do not intend to renew the visas of 178 000 Zimbabweans (the Special Zimbabwean Exemption Permit). This is no doubt stressful for these permit holders who previously faced no or little difficulty getting renewals and were able to stay locally.
The announcement has now also had a knock on effect in regard to banking, as some South African banks have begun to contact Permit holders asking them for their latest documentation or threatening to close their accounts.
‘some South African banks have begun to contact Permit holders asking them for their latest documentation or threatening to close their accounts’
Organisations representing Zimbabweans in South Africa are trying to engage with both Government and the Banks in regard to the matter.
Permit holders (which are not renewed) will have a 12 month ‘grace period’ during which they will still be able to access government departments and services (and presumably make plans to leave the country or apply for a different type of visa) but it is unclear if the banks will force the closure of their bank accounts in January 2022 or not.